Happy 2nd Birthday Maxson!

Not easier. I have wanted to post before this day so I could share in all the ways Eli has brought so much joy back into our lives but today will probably not be the day I feel like sharing that. I am sad.

A two year old that fact alone just hurts. Many times since Eli has been born I have had teary eyed moments longing or feeling guilty about not sharing in the same experiences with Max. My boy Max still has his own unique part of my heart that longs wants and desires Max. But that is why I will hold tight to the day when I know I will be reunited with my baby and be able to celebrate his birth and homecoming with him.

Well two years Max... you have not spent a day apart from us with us not feeling your absence. You often on occasion bring a smile to my face and tears because of the enormous love I feel for you. Your brother I believe resembles you so much granted he is a lil heavy weight. I know he will be so proud to talk about you someday. We are proud to call you are son and Eli will be happy to call you his brother. This time of the year your stalking goes up your ornament goes on the tree and we remember a part of our life that still is very much alive in our hearts. I love you and my prayer today is even though life and death here separate us I hope you feel the love my heart sends your way. love you, mom and dad


Elijah Mathias

He is here!!

September 30 at 7:41am Max's little bro entered the world with a loud, healthy set of lungs wail -one of the best most moving sounds I have ever heard.

We are so excited and in love with him, my heart feels like it wants to burst. He is doing wonderful at eating, sleeping, and all the other stuff he's supposed to be doing at day 4. I am going to share a few pics with you and plan on posting some more later this week when we let some professionals take over and get some pics. I also have so much to share on that day and how Max's life was so remembered and God's grace then and now was revealed to us. It was such an amazing experience, all of it!

So for now introducing Elijah Mathias Hagen... he entered weighing 8lbs 4ozs and 21 inches long.


Ticking Down part 2

My dinner was deciding to come back up tonight, nothing new but I just decided to get up rather than throw up. It was a pretty easy choice. The idea of no heart burn soon is so awesome. So I floated the internet and decided to blog because now we are on the real countdown. Friday, October 1 at noon Eli will be here via c-section or he may arrive on his own in the next week. We are so so so so excited to see, kiss, hold him. Tomorrow is my last day of work for awhile and with my house almost in order we are just waiting. Eli is still kicking away, he does steal the most active baby from his brother.

We finished his nursery thanks to Dustin and my dad. We started back in July tearing down wall paper. And I have had some back breaking days involved in the nursery too, not in comparison to the guys but hey pretty good for a pregnant girl. Anyway, I had stored away some of Max's things that I decided to bring out and share with his brother. That is saying a lot, I can remember a time when I cried my way through packing it all up into tubs vowing no other child will touch this stuff. So I think I have come a ways. Not to say I didn't well up going through the tubs. Maxson still holds a piece of my heart physically and although it hurts I treasure the weight of my love for him. So now Eli will share the blanket I made for Max and the bunny I played for Maxson so many nights. And I feel so good about it. Eli will love and look forward to meeting his big brother, I just know it.

So we have about a week and I am sure ready. Dust and I have been talking about how crazy that in the next week we won't run the show anymore. Six years now we are both more than okay with letting the reigns go. Dustin is going to be great dad, one of the best. And while I know we will mess up our fare share I think we will do okay. Elijah is going to be in for some passionate parents some that will hopefully raise him with a perfect mixture of yeses and nos, kisses and firm holds, teaching and let living. We will give it our all Eli, thats all I can say. And please don't fault us to much for our mistakes I'm sure we'll make, there is no manual coming with you!!

Now I may try laying down again my food might be digested enough to lay at a 45 degree angle. I will leave you with Elijah's Nursery. I can't wait to introduce him to you.


Ticking Down

It's a funny thing, when I was pregnant with Maxson around this time I was content. I don't remember getting to the end of the day and wanting the day of his birth to come. I truly lived in the moment and cherished it. I wish that would have been a forever implanted skill/lesson. But no. I dream of the day of Eli's birth and all the moments to come, and at certain small moments, when he is kicking just so I live in the now, ever so content just not ever so often.

The whole idea of leaving the hospital with a baby has through out this pregnancy seemed surreal. This weekend we finished Eli's baby's room, well almost. And honestly I can say that the thought of him sleeping in this nursery is surreal. All of these unbelievable experiences to come, God willing, seem so far fetched to me, not that I am fearful, I am just so in awe of what a blessing it will be. Truly Max was such an amazing blessing but on that road was so much pain and the planning wasn't for a baby's room it was for a funeral and the possible use of hospice. This is just so different and I think because Max was the first born and that's the only way we've done it... ahh I am getting lost here for words, I just pinch myself... a lot.

With the clock ticking down now...oh so slowly (remember I am not doing a great job of living in the moment) the dday for Eli is October 4th by c-section, unless he decides to come early then I will try a vbac. So seven weeks to go, in just one of the hottest summers ever! But hey, physically I can't complain, I have the heartburn under control and I still don't have cankles (spelling?) anyway, overall we are doing great. No I up that, we are doing wonderful, Dustin and I can't wait for the summer to go and to be holding Eli. I really think the title to this post maybe should wait till 3 weeks out. That sounds like a better number to start counting down from than 7 weeks out. Well whatever, 7 weeks and counting. I will have to share some baby room pics later it is way past my bedtime.

with love,


Happy Independence Day!!

Just wanted to put a note out there to all, wishing everyone a happy 4th. Dust and I are doing well. Actually we are doing great. We are almost done with laying a new driveway about the size of a basketball court, scary! And Eli is growing and kicking and we are so anticipating his arrival, tentative c-section date Oct 4 or 5th.

I can't tell you how blessed I feel to feel him kick and to just appreciate the thoughts of his life being part of ours. So amazing. There has been moments of bitter sweetness, randomly his kicks bring on longing for Max. And there has been times when all the different memories come back good and bad that just make me feel pure longing for him. But all in all I feel so joyful. And Maxson is brought up so often now. It feels good. I feel bad for the random stranger that asks when I am due?... is this my first?... oh how old is our first?...well, I can't lie about him. I can now guarantee that when a stranger opens there mouth and asks when I am due the path the conversation will take. Then I always end up saying no, no need to be sorry, I'm okay and ending with a big smile. I don't even feel awkward anymore responding he has passed. Which is all good and healthy to be in that place. I love being able to talk about Eli's big brother and think about Max having a brother.

I will leave you with a couple pics. Again Happy 4th!


Love of Jesus's Girls Home

I realized in my last post I didn't update the stats of the Haitian girls, Jesumine and Marie France. We did find out a while ago that we will not be taking them in. Unfortunately our government was the stopper not the Haitian government, funny huh? Apparently our country doesn't want to open the floodgates of Haitian orphans...cause this would be something we never do...???? I don't get it, we were trying for a Humanitarian Visa which is what many other countries have had no problem using in times of war or crisis. Anyway, I prayed for God's will and I trust this is His will. There was a few fears I had for the girls if they came to the US, now I want them to have a safe home built as soon as possible. From here out Haiti and especially Jesumine and Marie will have our attention. I will be going there when I can and we plan to try and help from a distance too. So I will leave with letter from Connie, an amazing woman who is part of an organization completely dedicated to helping the Haitian orphans.

If you can only give $10 that's awesome, it all adds up and with the help of many the home can be built very soon!!

with love,

Dear Friends, Family and Sponsors of Haiti Love & Faith,

Many times you receive letters telling stories of children in foreign countries and their hardships. I am not going to tell you a story today. I am only giving you the cold hard facts about the girls at the Love of Jesus Girls home in Haiti.

We have been working very hard on getting our girls out of Haiti and into the US. So far we have been unsuccessful but are still trying. Because our efforts have failed, we are in desperate need of building a home for our girls at the Love of Jesus Girls’ Home. They have been living in tents and shipping containers since the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Up until this time it has not been comfortable for them but they have been able to continue living safely in these conditions. This is no longer the case. Because of the 24,000 people living outside the girls home and the lack of sanitation and the start of the rainy season our girls are beginning to contract diseases. Some of these diseases are malaria, hepatitis, yellow fever and others. If we do not come up with funds to build their home I am afraid our girls will begin dying.

Samaritan Purse has built 10 temporary shelters on our compound. By no means are these shelters suitable for the girls to live in for an extended period of time. They basically get them up off the ground and a roof over their head. The girls are still using the restrooms and the showers at the old home but are terrified of entering the building. They have started separating the sick girls from the healthy girls trying to keep the diseases contained. The older girls are caring for the little ones.

Here is where we need your help. If you sponsor a child please continue sponsoring her. If you could add extra to your sponsorship for medical expenses or to the relief fund we would appreciate that. If you do not sponsor a child please consider sponsoring any of our girls. You can contact me at the address below and I will help you pick out a girl. If by chance we do get our girls to the US we will then rescue more children off the streets of Haiti. At that time we will let you pick a new girl to sponsor.

If you would like to help with the building of our girls’ home there are several ways you can help.

Write a check made payable to Star of Hope and put a note in the memo “helping HL&F”. It can be sent to Star of Hope. P.O. Box 427, Ellinwood, KS 67526
Visit our webpage www.haitiloveandfaith.org select “Donate now to the Haiti Earthquake relief” and complete your information so we can send you a tax deductible receipt. Also in the comment box write “ helping HL&F” and your donation will go toward the rebuilding.
Text: HHH to 85944 to donate $10 towards the girls’ home. The response will say Leep Inc. Don't forget to confirm the donation by following the instructions.
If you have any questions regarding our ministry or our earthquake relief efforts, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to talk to you about it.

Walking by faith,

Connie Klein
Haiti Love & Faith Ministries, Inc.
Facebook/Haiti Love & Faith


Oh Brother!

So last week we ventured to Minnesota where on Friday the 14th we were scheduled to have our level 2 ultra sound (skipped the level one). We lived in the area for seven years so we had family and good friends to see. The day of the ultrasound I was a ball of nerves. It wasn't until 2:15, with of course the mandatory waiting room wait. So about 3 I was lying on the ultrasound lazy boy, I could hear my heart beating, no joke. And it didn't help that Dustin looked like a ghost. But it all started and the first image we saw was our baby opening and closing a hand. This was the first praise. Trisomy 18 babies don't open their hands. One marker to check off the list. The ultrasound continued with one of the best technitians in the world, we wanted to hug her and tell her how much we loved her. Don't worry we kept ourselves controlled. She walked us through everything continually saying that is perfect, or looks just like it should, Dust answering each time with, "that's music to my ears", or "awesome"...anyway you get it, it was one joyful day. Tears and smiles. I will leave some pics below.

God has been so faithful and I don't just mean through this pregnancy. Even in my lowest of low with Maxson or my brief moment in time with my son face to face, He has always stayed true. Not that I can ever brag the same about myself, that is why His grace is enough. Just like I did with Max I pray this life growing inside me glorifies God. Not through religious works, but through a humble yet strong relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.

Maxson's little bro, Elijah Mathius Hagen!


Absent Again

So I am obviously horrible at keeping Max's blog up to date. I have been so crazy busy and for quite a while I have had night sickness. Entering my second trimester has relieved much of that though. And yes you read that correctly we are expecting!!!
Very happy, excited, blessed, and most of all God has been so close. The fear that I would have expected and had the last pregnancy is small, most of the time I am so present in the present I have no worry, no fear. And when it has crept in Jesus has made it clear to 'knock it off'.

We did know about the pregnancy before we accepted the girls. We prayed about it and took into consideration the costs and time, we know we have been blessed to give both. Dustin works from home and I can work from home with a majority of my hours, my photography and other work is mainly home based. So we made the choice if God's plan is to bring those girls to the states we will have our hearts and home open to them.

Where is that right now?

Well there is still people working tirelessly to get the girls to the states. So it may still happen, we have faith and pray for God's will. I do think about the other side; what if the girls come here and then have to leave, is it a positive thing for them then? That is why I pray for God's will, I don't know what is best for them. Regardless of what happens I know I will make sure to be a part of Jesumine and Marie's life even if it is from a distance. We have done the paperwork, now it is in God's hands and that's where it's at. So please pray for all the children of Haiti, it is not a country any child would pick to be born, it can be a tragic life and now in the aftermath of the earthquake it will be even worse.

My dear friend Katie is over in Haiti working right now for Star of Hope. She has a blog that has some great stories of the people from Haiti. She has such a heart for the Haitians as she has been there on Mission trips, I think about 5 times before the earthquake. I love reading the stories she shares and also look forward to seeing any pictures she shares.

So back to the news...
We are praying and really enjoying Maxson's lil bro/sis...There have been some moments that have been bittersweet, already. Sometimes just the memories that come back from being pregnant with Max. Sometimes just that I am excited and already loving a baby that isn't Max. In all the joy it is okay to have some sadness it truly makes my heart melt in a different type of way I ever felt before when I was pregnant.

I did have a rough start and after day 90 of being nauseated and throwing up I was trying to focus on how thankful I was to be pregnant...ha ha, it was rough but I am feeling better. All worth it.

Anyway, sorry for my absence I am going to try and write more. Not only do I enjoy writing I enjoy being connected to many of you out there that I think of often and pray for. I will write soon.

with love,



I don't even know how to put this out there with out you having to re read it and probably say to yourself 'what', but I am going to try.

I know that my plan for my life is not what God's plans are for my life, so how this came up and how this unfolded to us is completely in His hands. Shortly after the quake in Haiti my heart was bleeding for the orphans and that led me into looking into adoption. Well, that turned out to be pretty much impossible because the stipulations the waiting and the cost was all way over our heads. So I laid it to rest for the future, but with my heart now open to the thought God stepped in. Later that week I got a call from a dear friend that works at a nonprofit Star of Hope who was working with Haitiloveandfaith Girls home, she told me about how they were trying to get the orphans over from Haiti into temporary care with a possibility for adoption. I told her I was interested and she referred Dust and I. That was about a month ago or just over. Now we are filling out paperwork for the girls visas, waiting, and praying to meet Jesumine who is 10 and her sister Marie France who is 7. This is going to be a radical change in the Hagen household, but we feel God leading us and see the beauty of His provision. This is not a for sure deal, it has a high probability and if it happens it will be several months until they are with us. I will continue to do my photography and on another note, I am not serving anymore but am starting at our Church next week as a publications assistant. So to say my time will be stretched is an understatement. Part time at the church, plus 5 weddings booked, plus two girls that need so much love and support, all I can say is please pray for us.

We miss Max all the time but I can honestly say I don't believe my heart would be open to something like this without Max, he still is making a difference here.

Please check out the links above to the orphanage and to Star of Hope, if you are looking for good reputable places to donate to there is two, I have seen so much corruption going on with charities and it makes it scary to give these two have their hearts in the right place.

With all of these changes possibly coming I can't help but to step back and be in awe of our God. Below is pictures of the girls they were taken about a year ago.


Max's Birthday, Christmas, 2010, and more

First sorry about the Christmas post, yes it was an accident I wasn't trying to sound melodramatic or make you wonder for my sanity, I really started it and had to stop and didn't know I posted. That was until I started receiving some comments and emails, so sorry to have been short on words actually I have been short on time. I just finished designing a catalog for the company I work for and that took me some time, we traveled to MN for Dust's meetings and some friend time, then back MN for Christmas, so not too much time in between there.

Well Christmas came and went with a sigh of relief from me and I'm sure a whole lot of others out there grieving someone. I did put a stocking up for Maxson with his name on it, but other than that he wasn't really mentioned by any family over the holidays. Sounds like that bothers me, huh? But honestly it doesn't, I get it, it sucks to bring it up to know when to say when not to say, just easier to not say anything. Out of word out of mind (yes, I know that's not how it goes)and that works, for everyone but me. Anyhow, that's not what hurts the most, Maxson just not being here does, so I try to keep my pain in check. After all misdirected anger and pain just causes me more grief, just one of the many lessons taken over the past year. Speaking of the past year, really a year? It went by with out me realizing it. Thinking about it now I realize the first quarter of the year was spent in this grief fog, where time doesn't stand for much cause everyday it was just more of the same in just a different way, if that makes any sense. The second quarter I was trying to be me again, up and down roller coaster, who was that girl? Second quarter I was angry, man I was mad for a while. Some days I said "nope God no more let me out of this story, I quit". I had a horrible time being able to be in church without wanting to storm out or get up and tell the pastor a thing or two. Maybe it was delayed hormones I don't know. I came through that quarter with hope... somehow, I do get that the way things work, is above my understanding, as repeated in the Bible!! Sure, okay... hope led me to trying fertility again, second try and bam I was pregnant (bam is so far from the way pregnancy works in my world). Hope led me to miscarry, and thus began the cycle of everything again in a much quicker fashion. Last quarter was a repeat of the first two all jumbled up in one agonizing recap . With all that in 2009 I really want to have finish with some great wisdom from the year, some great new confidence, some wonderful feelings of hope, just something that will allow me to swallow everything a bit easier. So here is what I can reflect on:

ONE: I can sing with anger...umm better I can praise with anger. If you think this is no great feat then you have no idea what being mad at our Creator feels like.

TWO: I want to give to others for reasons I didn't before. I gave in the past but now I want to give for reasons that don't have anything to do with me. It has always felt great to give, sometimes I wonder if that's why I did. Now when I give all I can think about is how to carry someones load in any small way. To make it easier for them is now the key.

THREE: Trust in God. Hm mm I know I said I learned this through Max and I did but if you know me, I tend to have to learn things again and again, I'm not stupid just stubborn. His plan has been a hard pill to swallow the past four years, my life resembles nothing of how I would have painted this picture. But that is the point I AM NOT PAINTING THIS PICTURE! That is when trust becomes much easier to feel, His Plan feels a whole lot better to trust Him.

FOUR: God does not hate me. Well the evidence may be to contrary in this I believe; "Jesus loves me this I know"! How I got here...that road was too long to tell.

FIVE: God has truly given me some wonderful blessings. An amazing husband and at times the grace to see that he is, a warm home, food; usually whatever I feel in the mood to eat, a country where I can talk someones ear off about Jesus and not be arrested (I did not do that at my work Christmas party, wink, wink), a family who loves God and is not broken, friends and more friends, a dog who I love more every year. a son who I do get to meet again one day and that will be for, FOREVER, work that I love and some that I don't (the don't usually makes more money at the time), the desire to carry another child, with everything that I have come through sometimes I think I am insane to want to keep going, without the desire to raise a child I wouldn't be forging ahead...medically that is.

SIX: Grace. God has really given me so much that now I feel it is easier for me to give grace.

SEVEN: NO understanding. HA ha yes you read that correctly, I don't understand why everything has happened this year and why, and I am OKAY with not understanding. Yes this will be a lesson I have to learn over and over. I have heard a lot of people in the last year try to explain how God works or doesn't work. God is punishing...hmm really I can't swallow our God punishing many fine women I know with losing their children. If this is true I can point out many more who should have lost their children too. And really if God is love, really? That one bugs me.

Another one has been; God is not in this sinful world He doesn't have any control or say, you know freewill?... okay well I have been down to the bottom and when your down there and you make it out, you can NEVER say God is not in control. When you carry a life that is not made to stay here you get it, He has control. When you hand over your baby's physical body to a man you have never met knowing that your baby is now really not here you get it, He is in control. 'It' is just a feeling, I feel at my lowest, but a feeling that tells me I know He is. Alright so with both those very popular theories out, here is mine, coming through 2009 I don't understand. NO UNDERSTANDING as simple as that, we don't know how God works and we can't put His ways in a box and say, "see this is why this happened". Do I think God has taught me through this? sure. Do I think He has not stepped in? Duh. Do I think He has punished me? No. Guided me, directed me, tested me, disciplined me, of course He loves me, but is that why all this hardship has been going on? I don't think so cause really it may have nothing to even do with me.

EIGHT: CONT. from above. All bad that happens to me really is not all about me. I pray Maxson or my journey may place a seed in someone out there. A seed that eventually satisfies someones soul and thus adding another life to heaven. I do believe that is the most important matter here on earth.

NINE: When to pray and how. I am not saying I have learned when to pray and how, well I am a little. I know to get on my knees sometimes, I know sometimes the hardest prayers are the truest. After I miscarried I went into a severe downward spiral, I didn't pray...I couldn't pray I told God I was done praying. I physically felt I was pulling my heart along that is how heavy it felt. I told God I was done. At some point I began praying not in a typical way I am too stubborn for that. More like asking, complaining, yelling at God. Prayers like, "This is what you give when your children ask, you might as well have given me a snake. If you hate me fine hate me I will deal with it. You know my heart you know I love you and everything seems as though you hate me", Those words along with many other negative words were my prayers for a long time. I wasn't even admitting this was prayer cause that was how angry I was. Eventually God gave me Grace and I pulled through this time with the same and may be a bit stronger faith than when I entered. Looking back I realize I have learned how to pray better because 'when' is not in play any longer. I don't have to be in bed or at the table or even in church, I don't necessarily have to be on my knees. I have a prayer life now that is some days close to an all day prayer of being still and of words of both positive and negative.

TEN: It is 2010, I am alive and the grief over losing my son is still here but I laugh, I enjoy moments, I cry, I have hope for 2010, I can say 2009 wasn't with out gain.

with love,

Oh yeah,

I will post soon on Max's birthday I am just waiting to get the pictures of his cake back from my sister. It was a day that I expected to be pretty painful but wasn't. I cried a little but it wasn't agony like the days leading up to it. So thanks for the prayers and warm wishes on Max's day it all helped. FYI my grandma went to heaven the 4th, Maxson was born and left us the 5th, my sister Stephanie went to heaven the 3rd. December is the time to enter Heaven for our family funny how that has worked. Oh and my grandpa died on Christmas eve, see?